Hospice volunteers add immeasurable happiness to patients’ lives. They also allow family caregivers to take much needed breaks. But ask any volunteer and they’ll almost certainly say that they are getting more out of the experience than they could ever give.
There are two ways that a person can serve as a hospice volunteer: direct and indirect. Direct volunteers visit patients in their homes or assisted living facilities. They do things like engage them in conversation, visit with their pet, read to them, or play an instrument for them. Indirect volunteers offer their time and talents in Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care’s offices – doing things like putting together mailings, filing paperwork, and assisting staff.
Crossroads’ volunteer managers are trained to match potential volunteers with a position in their area that matches their interests and skills.
“Hospice volunteers do it because they feel they’ve been drawn to interact with people at end of life,” says Volunteer Manager Gretchen Eagle. “Their time with patients is often inspirational and motivates them to live their best life.”
How to Become a Hospice Volunteer
Crossroads accepts people ages sixteen and older into its volunteer program. The first step of the process is meeting with a volunteer manager for an interview. During this interview, the volunteer manager will explain each of the following steps involved in how to become a hospice volunteer.
Keeping patients and their families safe is Crossroads’ top priority. As such, Crossroads performs background screenings for all volunteers in addition to a tuberculosis test.
Crossroads also requires volunteers to attend both in-person and online training sessions. These training sessions are designed to help ensure volunteers will be comfortable when visiting patients.
Volunteers are there for companionship, not hands-on care, and the training helps clarify all of the dos and don’ts of hospice volunteering. This includes HIPAA regulations and information on family and patient rights.
Once volunteers complete the training period, the volunteer manager will introduce them to their first patient.
“Volunteers should be open-minded about the patients they’re going to visit,” Volunteer Manager Ashley Green shares. “Sometimes we have patients who are very social, but sometimes we have patients who can't say very much, but the visit means just as much. Just because we don't see a response out of the patient doesn't mean there isn't a powerful effect.”
To speak with a volunteer manager to become a hospice volunteer, please complete a volunteer application form or call us at 1-888-564-3405.
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